Saturday Morning Message: Holiday Traditions Old or New?

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

As the season turns from summer to fall and we begin to look ahead to the holiday season, we are faced with decisions about continuing holiday traditions or starting something new. I smiled as I read the variety of responses that came in this week. Those who are thinking about what to do during this difficult time of social isolation along with those who are new to grief may find some ideas in this week’s responses.

autumn leaf on pond

If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who participated in this week’s Saturday Morning Message, send it to and your thoughts will be passed along to them. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another.

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon

Responses from Survivors to last week's question

What traditions do you plan to keep or what new ones would you like to create for the upcoming holiday season? 

From Kelsey, mother of Michael: My son and I didn't have any particular customs or habits during holidays. We did what we did nearly everyday. We played video games and laughed a lot. One game called Yakuza was in Japanese. I made up words to go along with those in the game speaking. It was always very funny. So, I guess our tradition would be continuing our daily activities. He never wanted special attention for his choice to be a Marine. I was very proud of him.

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: I didn’t keep any traditions. It hurt my heart. It broke my heart. I tried for a couple of years, but I stopped. I used to cook for the holidays...big dinners. I enjoy cooking, but was always looking for the wise guy to tell me he could carve that turkey or make something better. I decided not to cook and wait ‘till I was invited to someone else’s home.

With the coronavirus, I don’t know what we will do. 

From Beth, spouse of Thomas: I can’t believe how much I have grown in the past two years since Tom's death and finding TAPS. Thanksgiving is hard, because his birthday was 11/22. He would either make dinner or we would go out to eat. This year, instead of spending money on a meal, I am going to make a donation in his memory. This year, when I hit 6/29/2020 which was the memory of his death, I made a donation to friends of survival. This month, I made a donation in memory of a church member who died a few weeks ago. We met two years ago in a Grief Share support group. I plan on getting in shape and running again and raising money to buy a plaque on the TAPS wall for Tom. I plan on making a donation each month, instead of spending money on gifts, to keep Tom’s memory alive and to help others. 

From Sandra, mother of Joshua: If it were up to me, I would just treat holidays like another day, because they bring so much sadness with them. The first Thanksgiving after the loss of my oldest son, I insisted on picking up Chinese food for Thanksgiving, because of a movie I saw on TV. It was not successful. At Christmas, I compromised on a tiny green Christmas tree with sparkling lights and generic ornaments and it was very pretty. I also bought holiday pillows for the couch, because my younger son wanted them. Now, I have a roasted turkey at Thanksgiving and a spiral honey baked ham at Christmas with the same tiny Christmas tree and the festive holiday pillows. I celebrate the holidays for my family.

Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

This week’s question actually came from two survivors, Perry, father of Christopher and Elizabeth, spouse of Joseph. They wrote about habits their loved ones had and those Perry and Elizabeth still continue today, so the question is: What habits did your loved one have that you still remember? And, do you continue any of them today? We look forward to your responses. 

The Saturday Morning Message was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond. Questions for future messages are always welcome. You can reply to this message or email In order to have your reply included the following week, it is best to send your response by Tuesday morning. Thank you to everyone responding this week and to those who read this message.

Song for the Week

musical notes icon

From Lydia, mother of Carl sent something different for the song of the week which might make you smile. Lydia wrote, “When the kids were little, we went to see “The Rugrats Movie”. One of the songs featured in the movie was "Witch Doctor" with the famous chorus, "oo ee oo aa aa, ting, tang, walla walla bing bang.". 

When Carl was a little bit older, he would complain about having a piece of music stuck in his head, which he called an earworm. I would tell him that I could fix it and proceed to sing the chorus of “Witch Doctor”, usually off key. After a couple of times, when I would offer to fix it, Carl would politely decline my offer of help. But I had a sneaking suspicion that he was hearing that silly chorus, "oo ee oo aa aa, ting, tang, walla walla bing bang." 

You can send me favorite songs for this song of the week section at and include a note about why the song is meaningful to you.

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Other Items and Events of Interest

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Join us on Memorial Day Weekend, May 28 to 30, for our 27th Annual National Military Survivor Seminar! We will be live streaming all of our general sessions with guest speakers.

Important Note: In-person registration is still open, but we are in a waitlist situation due to COVID occupancy restrictions in the State of Virginia. 

If you have any questions, email or call our Helpline at 202.588.TAPS (8277).

Learn More and Register


▶▶  Connect With Your TAPS Family 

You can discover all the opportunities to connect with your TAPS Family on our website at the TAPS Event Calendar.

About the Saturday Morning Message

The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication contributed by survivors. The primary focus of the SMM is to foster peer-based connections for support and encouragement. It is the goal of this communication to foster a safe, supportive place where we can openly share in a nonjudgmental and caring manner. Read and contribute as you are comfortable. Content submitted for the SMM is edited for space considerations and may be used in other TAPS publications. The loving family at TAPS is available to you 24 hours a day. Please call 202-588-TAPS (8277).